Belgian arrested by Wagner mercenaries in Central African Republic

Mercenaries from the Russian-funded Wagner Group have arrested a Belgian in the Central African Republic. The man, a humanitarian aid worker, was reportedly detained for not carrying identity documents during a check. 

Wagner mercenaries, backed by the African militias they are working with, have in recent days driven out the rebels of UPC (Union for Peace), with whom they are vying for power, in several cities in the country. During those operations, a Belgian man of Portuguese origin was also arrested, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The news was confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Department.

According to the Central African news site Corbeau News Centrafrique, the Belgian works in the village of Zémio for 360FHI, a non-profit organisation. He was reportedly arrested for not carrying his ID during a check. His colleagues, fellow NGO workers, dare not bring his identity papers for fear of being arrested themselves. 

“The Foreign Affairs Department has been informed by the embassy of Cameroon,” said spokesperson Wouter Poels. “We are following the situation closely, but as it concerns an individual person we cannot comment further.”

The Wagner Group operates in several African countries, providing security services and paramilitary assistance and launching disinformation campaigns for troubled regimes in exchange for resource concessions and diplomatic support. The Central African Republic is one of Wagner’s greatest African laboratories and serves as a centre of economic and military influence for Moscow.


A Russian flag on a monument in Bangui, Central African Republic © PHOTO BARBARA DEBOUT / AFP

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels